A Mixed-Bag of KDramas

Pretty much same-old same-old here, although I have my interview with Canadian Connection tomorrow, so I’m really nervous!!  To help myself calm down, and also because I haven’t posted for a week, I decided to do another Kdrama post.  This time, the line-up is… well, let’s just say there were some really good ones, and some really… questionable dramas.

So, let’s get started!

The Good:

1. Pasta

I made the mistake of deciding to watch this RIGHT ABOUT THE TIME I started my diet.  I know, I must be some kind of a masochist, right?  So there I am, hanging out in my bed at 2AM (prime snacking time,) trying to forget about how hungry I am while I watch a whole show centered around cooking and scrumptious-looking pasta.  Oh Em Gee.  But!  It was definitely worth a watch, for sooooo many reasons.  The main couple was completely spot-on in this drama.  My beloved Gong Hyo Jin from Master’s Sun plays Seo Yoo Kyung, a woman determined to be a pasta chef.  She has spent three years as the hard-working kitchen assistant, and on her first day as a chef, gets fired by the new Head Chef, Choi Hyun Wook.  (Who is played by the same guy who was the second-male-lead in Coffee Prince.  He is SO much cuter without the glasses, and with that leading-man swagger.)

This is a grown-up drama in pretty much every sense of the word.  There are no cross-dressing, star-struck adolescents here.  Everyone is adult… even though they don’t ALWAYS act like it.  (But where’s the fun in that?)  My point is, there’s none of that heightened intensity that you get with most dramas–the stakes are low-key and realistic, but not so lax that you wonder why you’re watching.  (Although in my favorite quote about this drama, someone said, “But I would watch these two actors weave baskets for 20 hours, so…”)  When the two main characters get together, they’re together.  You don’t get the impression that their relationship is destined to be dashed against the rocks until they fall apart.  They make a uniquely adorable team.  Even the second-leads are grown up–they aren’t dastardly twirling their mustaches off in a corner, waiting to cause chaos or misunderstandings for the main couple.  They are simply people who like the main leads, but take their rejection on the chin.

Don’t let Hyun Wook’s apparent sexism in the first episode deter you.  He has his reasons, and he learns that his thinking is always correct by the end.  He grows and changes for the better.  Which is what the journey is all about!

2. I Hear Your Voice

The Noona romance to end all Noona romances!  My goodness, I loved this so much more than I had anticipated.  At first, I wondered if it would be weird–the male lead, Lee Jong Suk, and the second-male-lead, Yoon Sang Hyun, were both together in Secret Garden–where the former was a young gay man who had a crush on the latter. xD  I have to admit I didn’t pay much attention to Jong Suk in that drama, and actually skipped most of that plot in favor of the main plot–but he DEFINITELY made me sit up and take notice with this one!

So we have Park Soo Ha, whose father was murdered when he was a young boy, leaving him practically an orphan.  The murderer, Min Joon Gook, would have gotten away–if not, through a series of strange events, for young teenager Jang Hye Sung who witnessed the whole thing.  Now, in present-day, Soo Ha has been trying to find the girl who helped put his father’s killer behind bars, to no avail… Until he sees her picture in the paper, as she has become a new public defense attorney.  His dreams of her nobility and forthright character are dented when he realizes she has become lazy and uncaring, more in it for the money than dispensing justice.  However, they are both thrust together when they realize that Joon Gook has gotten out of prison, and his first stop will be to get revenge on the woman whose testimony put him away and ruined his life.

(Did I also mention that Soo Ha can read people’s minds?  Yeah, that’s kind of a big plot point.)

Although amnesia does rear its head (throw a stone in a Kdrama, hit an amnesiac,) I was still so mesmerized by Lee Jong Suk’s UNBELIEVABLY adorable face, I probably would have watched anything and been happy to do it–which isn’t to say I thought it was a bad plot.  Actually, the serial killer aspect really gave it a sense of danger, and once I ascertained exactly HOW MANY years difference there was between the main leads, I settled in content for the long haul.  This show had two of the most beautiful kiss scenes–one involved falling tears, the other Jong Suk’s ridiculous smile–which aren’t to be missed.

(Did I mention he’s just too perfect to be real?  Honestly, he’s got to be a fairy.  He’s not of this world.)

The OK:

3. Rooftop Prince

There’s a lot of things going for this drama, I just want to say that right off the bat.  An adorable host of cute guy characters, for example.  Or, if you’re a big fan of a female antagonist whose guts you absolutely HATE, then this definitely has that.  (Really, she’s terrible.  You want to punch her in the face every time you see her.  She WILL induce uncontrollable urges of violence.)  And though he wasn’t the cutest male lead I’ve ever seen, once he cuts his hair he’s pretty nice looking.

But.  But.  Well, let me start with the premise of the show.

Joseon-era Prince Lee Gak wakes one morning to find his wife murdered in the palace pond.  Refusing to believe it could have been merely an accident, he gathers several people with specialized skills to help him investigate.  While doing so, the four of them find themselves mysteriously transported to modern Korea–right into the rooftop apartment of Park Ha.  Park Ha has had her own crazy life.  When she was young, she was in a car accident and lost her memory–she was then adopted by an American couple, and lived in the USA until she finally found her Korean family.  Unfortunately for her, right before she arrives, her father dies–leaving her only with her stepmother and REALLY EVIL stepsister.

So Park Ha suddenly has the Joseon weirdos to take care of, although she slowly finds herself believing them–and, as she teaches them to fit in, also develops feelings for the Prince.  Unfortunately, he has realized that his wife in the past has been re-incarnated as Park Ha’s sister, and thinks that getting her to marry him in the present will help him solve her murder, as well as send them all back.  This is facilitated by the fact that he looks like Yong Tae Yong, heir to a large company that went mysteriously missing.

Have you discovered the problem yet?  It’s the fact that, at the end of the day, the two leads are from different eras in time–and have to go back to them.  The drama does a good job of setting it up so that they will be with their time-appropriate incarnations of one another, but that just doesn’t fly with me in the romance department.  If you fall in love with someone, it’s because of the experiences you shared or the memories you have together–not just because they look like the person you loved.  So in the end, (or rather in the middle when I realized where this was all heading,) I couldn’t get into it anymore, and it fell rather flat.

The WTF:

4. Nail Shop Paris

I’ll admit that from the synopsis and the title, I didn’t REALLY have high expectations for this one–but it is definitely the first drama I’ve watched that I actually said ‘What the f**k?’ out loud multiple times.  This reads like a grab-bag drama.  Like someone told someone else they had to hurry up and write a drama script in a day.  “But what do I write about?” asked the pressed-for-time writer.  “We don’t care,” replied the producer, “throw some topics in a bag and pick out a couple.”  What they ended up getting was Nine-tailed Fox, Cross Dressing, Nail Salon, and Mystery Solving.

That, in a nutshell, is Nail Shop Paris.

[Warning: In case you actually really want to watch this for yourself, I spoil the ending in the last paragraph.  Read at your own peril!]

Main character Hong Yeo Joo is an online writer who specializes in stories about nine-tailed foxes, or Gumihos, after she swears she had a chance encounter with one saving her when she was a child.  Uhm, okay.  Anyway, after a few people accuse her of plagiarizing her stories, she is determined to base her next character off of someone from real life–and chooses Alex, a handsome guy from a flower-boy nail salon.  However, in order to study him more closely, she has to–you guessed it–chop off all her hair and ‘pretend’ to be a boy.  (Although this is probably the weakest attempt at being a guy that I have seen, and I’ve seen MANY women trying to pass themselves off as men.)

I’ll admit that I didn’t QUITE finish this drama, but I know how it ends, so bear with me.  (I simply had to know, even though I couldn’t stand to watch any more.)  So Yeo Joo, nicknamed ‘Bunny’ (because what man wouldn’t take that as a nickname,) proceeds to learn a little bit about doing nails, even though honestly all the employees do all day is try to help sort out the crazy lives of their clientele.  As this is going on, Bunny develops feelings for Alex, while grumpy-guy Kay has a crush on her/him.  She pity-dates him, I think, because otherwise he’s going to leave the salon, even though she still likes Alex.  (Why?  Why??)  Kay is, I guess, the ‘Male Lead’, but I honestly liked Alex better, and I NEVER like the second-male-leads better, so that should tell you something.  (Aka, wtf is that mustache, Kay??)

Long story short, the whole ‘gumiho’ thing actually DOES come back at the very end–as in, in the last episode.  Like the writer’s were notified, the day of, that they had to hurry and wrap things up.  So, surprise surprise, it turns out that YEO JOO IS ACTUALLY A GUMIHO HERSELF, WTF.  (This was hinted at LITERALLY NOT AT ALL until the final episode.)  Not only that, but her boss is a gumiho, and Alex is ALSO a gumiho.  Womp womp womp.  And I think the boss-lady is also her mother?  Hmm.  Anyway, the whole thing was just head-scratching, though short–a mere 10 episodes.  (Thank God.)

(I just really needed another picture of cutie-McCutie-pants to leave off with.)

So THAT’S the lot of them this time around!  Definitely ran the gamut this time from ‘Oh my gosh so good!’ to ‘LITERALLY can’t finish this, what is even happening’.  It made for more fun writing about them, to be sure!

As always, if you happen to watch any of these, I would love to know your thoughts. 🙂  Or your thoughts on the weather.  Seriously, I just like comments, I get so lonely. xDD

I’ll make sure to write next and let you know how my interview went!  I’m so psyched, I literally can’t wait.

Have a good one! 😉

Celeste

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2 thoughts on “A Mixed-Bag of KDramas

    • Pasta was such a nice change of pace from all the drama-angst of other kdramas. Not that I don’t love that too!! But the heart needs a break, you know? Plus, that actress is just so natural. If you haven’t seen her in ‘Master’s Sun’, I also recommend that one highly. 🙂

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